Nevada Likely To Become Home To Tesla's Battery Factory

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Several states, including California and Texas, are in competition for the so-called Gigafactory, which is expected to employ as many as 6,500 workers. They will make lithium ion batteries.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The electric carmaker Tesla is expected to announce it's building a massive new plant to make batteries in Nevada. Other states like California and Texas fought hard to get the so-called gigafactory - the jobs that come with it. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: 6,500 well-paying manufacturing jobs in this economy is a big deal. That's why states have been vying to get a Tesla gigafactory. Karl Brauer, an industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book, says a carmaker making its own batteries is an even bigger deal for the auto industry because...

KARL BRAUER: Because the battery pack is the most expensive part of producing an electric car and it's the one that car manufacturers previously - who've produced electric vehicles - have had the least control over. They've been basically at the mercy of battery makers.

GLINTON: That's because the companies that make batteries don't just make batteries for cars, they make them for phones and computers and there aren't that many battery makers. Brauer says imagine there's a massive factory that can produce batteries cost effectively.

BRAUER: They'll actually be additional competition to force these other makers to come down in prices, because someone like Tesla will be able to able to provide batteries not only for all their own vehicles but potentially they can produce laptop and cell phone and iPad batteries too.

GLINTON: Before they can do all that, the company has to make a profitable mass-produced affordable electric car. Brauer says making its own batteries gets Tesla closer to that goal. Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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